Leopard wine route anyone? Different take on the Cape

LEOPARDS and wine? Well, it’s a stronger link than between wild dogs and wine (apologies to the makers of Painted Wolf Wines who did so well in the Top 10 Pinotage Competition). In fact, while the winelands of the Cape are far away from the great game reserves in the northern and eastern reaches of South Africa, the chances of seeing one of the Big Five strolling among the vines are better than zero – quite a lot better.

Recent reports of an adult with cubs having been photographed at Plaisir de Merle on the Simonsberg in Simondium outside Franschhoek followed sightings earlier in the year by the folks at Vondeling in the Voor Paardeberg area north-west of Paarl and at Tokara on the Simonsberg off the Helshoogte Pass east of Stellenbosch. It was just a couple of years ago that we were hearing of a Boland beauty being spotted at Lourensford and Vergelegen in the Helderberg basin outside Somerset West, whereas Leopard’s Leap (Franschhoek), Knorhoek (Stellenbosch) and Ayama (Paarl) have artistic versions of the cat on their labels.

 
TOP WINES FROM THESE PRODUCERS IN TERMS OF GOOD REVIEWS BY ONE OR MORE EXPERT TASTING PANELS DURING THE PAST 18 MONTHS:

Knorhoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Knorhoek Chenin Blanc 2010
Knorhoek Pantere 2006 (red blend)
 
Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc 2010
 
Lourensford Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2009
Lourensford Shiraz Viognier 2007
Lourensford Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay 2011
Lourensford Winemaker’s Selection Viognier 2010
 
Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay 2010
Plaisir de Merle Grand Plaisir 2007 (red blend)
 
Tokara Chenin Blanc 2009
Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2008
Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2010
Tokara Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Tokara Rose 2011
Tokara Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Tokara Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2010
Tokara Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2010
Tokara Walker Bay Chardonnay 2009
Tokara Zondernaam Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Tokara Zondernaam Chardonnay 2010
Tokara Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Tokara Zondernaam Shiraz 2009
 
Vergelegen GVB White 2010
Vergelegen MMV Brut 2008
Vergelegen Reserve Chardonnay 2010
Vergelegen Reserve Merlot 2008
Vergelegen Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Vergelegen V 2007 (Cabernet-led red blend)
 
Vondeling Babiana 2008 (white blend)
Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz 2011
Vondeling Chardonnay 2009
Vondeling Erica Shiraz 2007
Vondeling Sweet Carolyn 2007 (dessert wine)